British MP Galloway denied entry to Canada

Anti-Israel lawmaker said to have provided money to Hamas during visit to Gaza Strip earlier this year.

March 31, 2009 08:50
2 minute read.
British MP Galloway denied entry to Canada

galloway haniyeh lovey. (photo credit: AP)


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A judge declined Monday to overturn a Canadian government ruling that bans an outspoken anti-Israel British lawmaker from entering the country. Canada banned George Galloway on national security grounds earlier in March, saying he provided money to Hamas, which is considered a terrorist organization in Canada. Federal Court Justice Luc Martineau denied a request for an emergency injunction to allow Galloway in to begin a speaking tour in Canada. Galloway is well known in Britain for his ardent opposition to the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. He was due to give a speech in Toronto on Monday. Earlier in March, Galloway was awarded an honorary Palestinian passport in a secret meeting with the Hamas prime minister. Ismail Haniyeh's office released a photo of the two men embracing. Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has said those who support, promote and help terrorist organizations should not visit Canada. A spokesman for Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said that Canadian border officials made the decision on grounds Galloway was a national security threat. Spokesman Alykhan Velshi said the government declined to overturn the decision because of Galloway's financial support for Hamas. In a letter to Galloway, the government said the lawmaker delivered humanitarian goods to war-torn Gaza and gave US$45,000 to Hamas. Martineau said in a written ruling that he's not willing to exempt Galloway from Canada's Immigrations laws. James Clark, an organizer for Galloway's speaking tour, said the British MP will not attempt to enter Canada because he has no intention of breaking the law. Galloway planned to deliver video speeches to Mississauga, Ontario, Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa this week from a studio in New York City. Galloway vigorously denied any suggestion that he supports terrorism in his video speech on Monday night, saying he gave money and aid to help the people of Gaza, not for terrorism. "I am not a supporter of Hamas," he said. "But I am a supporter of democracy." Galloway's supporters say he gave money to the government in Gaza but not to Hamas, even though Hamas controls the government. Galloway also said that banning him backfired because he's gotten more attention. Galloway was expelled from the Labour Party in 2003 for urging British soldiers not to fight in Iraq. He formed his own party, Respect, and won re-election to the Commons in 2005. In 2005, Galloway created a spectacle on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., by denouncing US senators while testifying before a committee that accused his political organization and his wife of receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in UN oil-for-food allocations from Saddam Hussein. He denied the allegation, called the panel of senators a "lickspittle Republican committee" and accused them of "the mother of all smoke screens." In 2007, he was suspended from the House of Commons for 18 days after being accused of concealing his financial dealings with Saddam's government. An investigation found that a charity he set up had been partly funded by the Iraqi dictator.

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